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View Full Version : Easy on/Easy off tops to wear post surgery?



mdtaffet
01-14-2012, 05:33 PM
Hi all,

My surgery is Monday, 1/23. I'm trying to find some comfortable easy on/easy off shirts to wear afterwards, but so far have not had any luck. I don't wear button-down shirts with collars, so they won't help. I also don't wear 3/4 sleeve shirts, so they won't help.

This time of year, everything I wear on the top is something that gets pulled on over my head, thus requiring raised arms, which I've heard can be difficult to impossible after surgery (my surgery is T9 to ilium). My first layer is either a long-sleeve turtleneck, or a long-sleeve v-neck knit tshirt-style top from either LL Bean or Talbot's. Then I usually wear either a sweatshirt or a V-neck sweater as my second layer. It's possible to find a few V-neck sweaters that button here and there, though I don't actually own any at this time. But, though I've tried, I can't seem to find anything to use as an easy-on/easy-off first layer. They don't make button-down turtlenecks that I know of, and I have yet to find a button-down V-neck knit shirt that looks like something I would actually wear. Any suggestions where I should look for suitable post-surgery tops?

-- Thanks,
Mary

JenniferG
01-14-2012, 06:41 PM
I can't help with your purchases but I'm thinking something along the lines of a zip front turtle neck top?

But I wanted to say that my fusion is T4-pelvis and I had no problem at all raising my arms, so with a bit of luck, neither will you. But I know you need to be prepared, just in case. Good luck.

mdtaffet
01-14-2012, 07:42 PM
Jennifer,

That's encouraging that you had no issues with raising your arms after surgery; my issues are primarily lumbar, so maybe I won't have any issues with that either.

I haven't yet encountered anything like a zip-front turtleneck top, but if I did, that should work, though it might be too warm at times. Do you know where to find one? I don't think I've ever seen anything like that ever before, but if there is such a thing, it would be useful to have.

leahdragonfly
01-14-2012, 08:12 PM
Hi there,

I had a similar fusion to yours about 15 months ago (I was fused T8-sacrum w/iliac fixation). I had no problems at all raising my arms. I did not wear a bra for a number of weeks due to the incision line, but shirts were no problem. You will also want some loose, soft stretchy pants to wear for awhile. You will likely be swollen at first and jeans or slacks will be uncomfortable.

Don't forget to have some Miralax on hand for afterwards, to prevent constipation. I would also recommend getting a bottle or two of Magnesium Citrate from the drugstore prior to surgery, for severe constipation. It is less that $2/bottle, and worth having around if needed. You will want to start stool softeners very soon after surgery as well as daily laxatives, because constipation can/will be severe with all the narcotics, and it is very painful if you do not stay on top of things. There are some threads on this topic with lots of good advice, also.

Good luck! I am happy to answer any questions you may have since our fusions will be quite similar, just let me know (you can post them here or send me a private message).

LindaRacine
01-14-2012, 08:22 PM
Hi...

I am fused T4-S1, and did not have any issues with raising my arms after surgery.

--Linda

Doreen1
01-14-2012, 08:29 PM
I took the advice of those on this forum who suggested temporarily replacing bras with tank tops then wear big button down shirts. Before my surgery, I went to Walmart and bought several button down shirts twice my normal size so that I'd be comfortable. I also picked up a few pair of yoga type pants. I'm almost 7 weeks post op and just wore jeans for the first time the other day and for the first time wore a bra today post op. If I got cold, I would wear a tank, a button down and a big cardigan. About a week ago, I started wearing most of my normal tops but still wear the yoga pants around the house. I was surprised to be able to raise my arms post op above my head to put on an occasional big tshirt and to dry my hair.

Praying for you to have a successful surgery and smooth recovery.

Warmly,
Doreen

mdtaffet
01-14-2012, 08:45 PM
I'm encouraged that several of you with similar surgeries say you had no issues raising your arms over your head. Given the discomfort that attempting to shop brings right now, I'm going to forget about that and just go with my normal tops. I have already purchased a couple of loose fitting outfits with stretch velour pants and zip-up jackets -- I got three such outfits on sale at JC Penney a few weeks ago. I also have several pairs of yoga-style pants for when I was able to do pilates before. So I don't think pants will be an issue.

This time of year, I even sleep with a bra, just to stay warm. I'm looking for some front-close bras now that I can use after the surgery. I have a couple already, but they wouldn't be comfortable for sleeping. So I figured maybe a somewhat looser athletic bra that fastens in the front would help. I've ordered one that should be here in the next day or so.

Shoes may end up being an issue for me; I can't wear slip-ons due to my pre-existing foot problems (extreme overpronation, heel spurs, heel bursitis, plantar fasciitis, morton's neuroma); I have prescription orthotics and have to wear a good motion control shoe to be comfortable. And because my feet are such an odd size (I usually wear a men's 8 EEEE), I can't just buy shoes in a store. I have no choice but to order online. I typically wear New Balance with an SL2 last for the deeper and wider toe box.

I currently have a leg length difference, but I don't know if that will still be there after the surgery. If it is, I'll probably need to also add a heel lift to my shoe, in addition to the orthotics.

-- Thanks for your replies,
Mary

golfnut
01-14-2012, 09:49 PM
Mary,
Good luck with your surgery and a smooth recovery. I am fused T4 to the sacrum and could put on a turtle neck as soon as I got home from the hospital. I could also blow dry my hair with no pain in lifting my arms.

JenniferG
01-14-2012, 09:50 PM
I think you'll be fine with what you have. If you can't raise your arms you can just thrust them forward and have someone slide the sleeves over your arms, duck your head down and slip it over your head then pull down. I can't see this being much of a problem. Wishing you the best result and a smooth recovery!

Lorz
01-15-2012, 07:40 AM
Hi Mary,
I am fused T-3 to S1, and bought a bunch of button down shirts prior to surgery, but never needed them. I was able to raise my arms right away. As far as bras, I have discovered the genie bras, and absolutely love them! There are no seams, are supportive, and so comfortable you could sleep in them. They never bothered my incision. You can order them on line, and some stores carry them too.
As far as shoes, have you tried Merrell brand? They have many styles that are slip on, can be ordered in all different widths, and are very comfortable and supportive. Since my surgery, I have bought 4 pairs.
Good Luck with your surgery!!

mdtaffet
01-15-2012, 01:23 PM
Hi Mary,
[snip] As far as bras, I have discovered the genie bras, and absolutely love them! There are no seams, are supportive, and so comfortable you could sleep in them. They never bothered my incision. You can order them on line, and some stores carry them too.
As far as shoes, have you tried Merrell brand? They have many styles that are slip on, can be ordered in all different widths, and are very comfortable and supportive. Since my surgery, I have bought 4 pairs.
Good Luck with your surgery!!

Lorz,

I did see that genie bra in the local Bed Bath & Beyond; I considered it for a moment, but due to unrelated shoulder issues, I do have problems trying to get something that tight over my head, even without back surgery. Shirts are much looser, but items like this have been difficult for me for quite a while.

I have worn Merrell shoes in the past, but for the most part, they are too narrow for me now. And slip-ons really wouldn't work too well with my prescription orthotics -- especially outside in the snow! This year has been drastically different, but in general, the yards disappear in this area by sometime in December, and we usually don't see them again until March. There has been dramatically less snow this season than normal, but there is a bit out there right now.

-- Thanks, Mary

backissues
01-15-2012, 10:57 PM
I didn't have difficulty getting shirts over my head. The crew neck t-shirts under a fleece worked very well for me. I was disguising my brace too. I didn't wear a bra for months and, in the winter, it really didn't matter, especially with the brace.

Hopefully, you won't have difficulty getting a shirt over your head either. Put the shirt over your head and then put your arms in. This will keep you from raising your arms so high.

As for the shoes, if the slip-on shoes don't work, get elastic laces and put them in your lace-up shoes. Then, you can slip on your tie shoes. You'll need a long shoe horn and then a grabber to pull the tongue.

Good Luck!!

Irene

jeneemohler
01-21-2012, 01:45 PM
If you are in need of something for warmth, you could try a zip-up, light-weight fleece from somewhere like LL Bean or Columbia. They come in different thicknesses. They can be left open or zipped up to cover your neck. They are incredibly warm, yet light enough to be used as a layer. Our house is really cold, and I wear one every day over a silk thermal.

I didn't have any issues putting things on, but it WAS easier to wear button-up or zip-up shirts those first couple of weeks...

Good luck to you!

walkingmom
01-21-2012, 02:24 PM
Hi Mary,

You mentioned that you wear prescription orthotics along with a heel lift. After my surgery I could no longerwear my old orthotics because my hips are now level. I waited until around 5 mos post op to be fitted for my new orthotics to allow my new back to settle in. Plus the heel lift was no longer needed. Just something to think about as you address some of your shoes issues.

Best of luck to you on our upcoming surgery!
Donna

mdtaffet
01-21-2012, 04:03 PM
If you are in need of something for warmth, you could try a zip-up, light-weight fleece from somewhere like LL Bean or Columbia. They come in different thicknesses. They can be left open or zipped up to cover your neck. They are incredibly warm, yet light enough to be used as a layer. Our house is really cold, and I wear one every day over a silk thermal.

I didn't have any issues putting things on, but it WAS easier to wear button-up or zip-up shirts those first couple of weeks...

Good luck to you!

I already have 3 of those, but they are outer layers, not inner layers. At least they are for me.... And yes, I do use them in the house when it gets cold.

-- Thanks,
Mary

mdtaffet
01-21-2012, 04:10 PM
Hi Mary,

You mentioned that you wear prescription orthotics along with a heel lift. After my surgery I could no longerwear my old orthotics because my hips are now level. I waited until around 5 mos post op to be fitted for my new orthotics to allow my new back to settle in. Plus the heel lift was no longer needed. Just something to think about as you address some of your shoes issues.

Best of luck to you on our upcoming surgery!
Donna

Donna,

I don't have a heel lift at this time -- at least not one that I actually use. It has been recommended to me in the past due to a supposed difference in leg length, but I've never actually used it. It will be interesting to see if that supposed difference in leg length disappears after the surgery...

The orthotics however, I wear all day, every day, and have since 1989 due to extreme overpronation (I practically walk on the sides of my ankles otherwise -- my high arch is very unstable and collapses easily), plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, heel bursitis, and more recently, Morton's neuroma (supposedly....). I am fully aware that they might need to be adjusted after the surgery.

-- Thanks,
Mary